Songs of The Islenos

Read the lyrics to two Spanish folk songs called decimas as sung by Irvan Perez, a member of the Spanish-speaking community of Canary Islanders in Southern Louisiana:

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Setecientos Setentaisiete (Seventeen Seventy-Seven)

In Seventeen Seventy-Seven

Some families left the Canary Islands,

For the shores of Cuba

And Southern Louisiana

 

In Southern Louisiana

And on land that was given to them,

They became farmers

to maintain their families

 

Some became soldiers

they fought for their liberty.

They were also victorious

Fighting against England.

 

Long live Spain and her flag!

For with all my heart,

I know we're Americans,

But our blood is Spanish!

 

When times got tough for them

and they couldn’t hold out,

they left their land

and, with other Spaniards,

they became fishermen.

 

What with ducks and muskrats

With the water and the marsh

With the help of the women,

They earned their living.

 

With sorrow and trouble,

And by the will of God,

That's how they settled

The towns of St. Bernard.

 

Long live Spain and her flag!

For with all my heart,

I know we're Americans

But our blood is Spanish!

 

 

La Vida de un Jaibero (The Crab Fisherman's Life)

 

I went up close to shore,

Just looking for shelter.

I heard a voice that was saying:

"Here I am all frozen."

It was a poor crab fisherman,

Fishing in the month of February.

 

And he was laying out is lines,

Straight across to the other side.

And there he found another fisherman,

Another poor unfortunate one.

The poor crabber says to himself:

"Damned be the month of February!"

 

He went up close to shore,

Where the tide was beating in.

Then the crabber says:

"Damn all this wind!"

It was a poor crab fisherman,

Fishing in the month of February.

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